YO LA TENGO
AMOEBA RECORDS L.A.
17 JANUARY, 2013Matador Records, Yo La Tengo has booked in a short series of in store celebrations to kick things off, including Fingerprints in Long Beach, Easy Street Records in Seattle, and Amoeba stores in San Francisco and Los Angeles. I went in-depth on the album for The Owl Magazine, and positively drooled at the prospect of hearing these songs live.
The Amoeba Music superstore on Sunset bucked the trend of the decaying industry to survive and thrive by appealing across the board to people who love music. Still amused by my last encounter there with an old Japanese woman in the jazz section who spoke no english, but by pointing at the albums in her pile and watching her face light up, we were speaking the same language.
Hoboken's own Yo La Tengo alternately softly charmed, and rocked the faces off of the all ages crowd at Amoeba. They were lined deep, and the huge Sunset Strip building was filled to capacity. Ostensibly to promote their new LP, Fade, the band went off script as usual, making room for covers and whatever they wanted to do.
After clearing the air with a kickoff rocker, they went mid-tempo for "Is That Enough", took it all the way down for a hushed "I'll Be Around" that brought the store to as close to a dead silence as I've ever heard, as the boisterous crowd grew reverent. Drummer Georgia Hubley provided very subtle shadings. Another from their seemingly inexhaustable bag of covers featured bassist James McNew on lead vocals, and served to set up the set-piece, so to speak. Moving back into volume dealer mode, the band locked into a bracing run through album opener "Ohm", Ira Kaplan ending the song in a hail of feedback that continued over the applause at the end of the song. He cut the feedback to one droning noise that the band used to instantly segue into album closer "Before We Run", with Georgia taking the vocal lead, and ending the show on a triumphant note.